The Vintage Lab.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably share my love of anything old (or you’re my mom or dad). And if you share my love of anything old, you have probably found yourself digging through a trash can or two, or trolling an alley full of goodies, or screeching to a stop in your car and picking something up off of the curb.

Right? I’m not the only one, am I?

I caused quite the stir at my school when, during the week before classes started, I screeched with delight when I came across three or four giant trashcans full of goodies that had been cleaned out of our science labs. People could just not believe it when I started pulling stuff out left and right. The young teachers who were doing the cleaning were especially astounded — they had been working all afternoon to clear what they considered “junk” out of their rooms, and here I was, pulling it all out of the trash. I was just sick I hadn’t found it sooner, because a lot of stuff had been broken or destroyed when it was thrown in the trash can.

So I’m going to show you these pictures and you’re going to tell me if I’m crazy that I was so delighted with my finds, okay?

Lifespan of the crayfish.

Lifespan of the trout.

Creepy crawly snake skeleton.

Specimens in resin.

Two awesomely big lab bell cloches.

Big model of a cross section of a leaf (it’s about two feet tall).

Braaaaaaains. This model is actually three pieces — it opens up so you can see a cross section. Needs to be cleaned — it’s filthy.


Two giant starfish specimens.

Dragonflies and Butterflies.

I actually pulled two of these anatomy dummies out of the trash — they were getting rid of them because they’re missing most of their pieces, but I think they’re still cool, regardless. The other one is still in my office and is my favorite — the one pictured is old (probably from the 1960s), but the one still at work is REALLY old. It’s made out of chalk, or clay, or something like that, and hand painted. Lovely.

And last but not least…

A giant Rand McNally pull-down map of the US with an Alaska overlay.

Is it all weird? Creepy? I know that the whole industrial thing is big right now, and this seems to kind of fit into that category. I’m thinking of putting it on Craigslist and using the money to bulk up our counseling library…but I have no idea whether it will sell and if it does, I have no idea how much to ask for it. Opinions solicited and welcome.

Ooooh, you know what, some of this would be really cool in a Halloween haunted house…

September 23, 2012 - 10:45 pm

Shara I was just talking to a teacher friend yesterday and she was saying how she misses chalkboards. All the good old things we remember in school are gone. The things you found are fantastic. having said that, I would be skeeved out by the snake, but I appreciate it’s vintage wonderfulness. Love those fabulous bell jars. Awesome. You did a very good thing!

September 24, 2012 - 4:06 pm

Shelley Definitely not weird or creepy! I mean, I couldn’t have that snake skeleton anywhere near me but that’s just me! I had forgotten about this until just now but, one summer when I was about 10 or 11 my older sister was babysitting and I usually went with her everyday. The family she was sitting for lived behind our elementary school and one day we found some of those old pull down maps in the dumpster and we were SO excited!! We took them home and played school and had so much fun! So, long story short, I think you got some awesome finds and your dumpster diving paid off!!

September 24, 2012 - 7:06 pm

Into Vintage I have to wonder how any of this would be considered trash? Why not donate it before tossing it and save us all the trouble of digging through the trash can?

I mean, save you the trouble becuase you’re the only one who does that. 😉

September 26, 2012 - 7:00 pm

Lara Jo I totally agree. I think they were just in too big a hurry to get the labs cleaned out.

September 26, 2012 - 7:00 pm

Lara Jo All right, thanks you guys! I’m not crazy! But the snake is definitely creepy.

September 27, 2012 - 10:12 pm

janie hightower That map!! Brought back grades 3-4 and 5, my class was in the SAME classroom all three of those years and the nun had a beautiful pulldown map in there that this reminds me so much of!! You really did get some UNIQUE items, I must say. Love the star fish.

January 5, 2013 - 8:57 pm

Norman I just stumbled upon your blog, and I wanted to say that I don’t find your snake skeleton creepy at all, in fact, I am very jealous. It would look awesome in a old library setting.

February 3, 2013 - 6:12 pm

Gina Not creepy at all! I would love and display every single item you found. I am a biologist, so maybe my love of natural history items is extreme (and I especially love the snake!), but I think you could sell it all for a lot of money.

February 3, 2013 - 6:15 pm

Gina I love it all! I’m a biologist so I already have an inclination towards natural history, but all of the items are gorgeous and interesting beyond belief. I would have scoured that dumpster to the very bottom! I especially love the animal collections (even the snake!)